Abbotsford mayor applies to sit on federal homelessness committee

Abbotsford mayor applies to sit on federal homelessness committee

Group will provide advice for ‘renewal’ of major funding program

Abbotsford Mayor Henry Braun has applied to sit on the federal advisory committee on homelessness.

The committee will provide guidance as the federal government looks to renew its Homelessness Partnering Strategy (HPS), which provides homelessness-releated funding to communities.

The members of the committee are expected to be announced this spring.

Abbotsford has previously been shut out from accessing much of the funding available through the HPS.

When the program was launched 18 years ago, the federal government picked 61 communities – seven in B.C. – to receive the bulk of HPS funding. Abbotsford was not among them, or in 2014, when the latest batch of contracts were signed. The current contracts expire in 2019, and the federal government has suggested that Abbotsford could receive designated community status.

That would put the city in a better position to receive a share of $2.1 billion in funding over the following 11 years, as promised by the Trudeau government in its February budget.

Braun applied for the advisory committee position after city staffed participated in a conference call with a senior government official. The official suggested Braun “consider applying,” according to minutes of a committee meeting.

The committee would be composed of eight to 10 members “who are external to government, have extensive knowledge of homelessness and are representative of Canada’s diversity,” according to a government website.

While no pay would be associated with the position, the government would pick up accommodation and travel costs. The committee’s work is expected to last six months.